NFPB members met in Perth at the end of September, with AM representatives from all parts of the North being joined by local Friends and London-based representatives from YFGM and from QPSW. During our morning session, members received the report of the Building Peace in Diverse Britain project group. The report was also shared simultaneously in London, with two of our group members delivering workshops at the Quaker conference on Interfaith Peacebuilding. Copies of the full report and of the shorter summary are available via this link .
Members used our normal ‘Members’ Forum’ to share information about peace-related activities and concerns, ranging from celebrating the place of asylum seekers in our communities to political campaigning and acts of witness, peace education to interfaith dialogue. In reflecting on how we might give these and other peace activities a higher profile, Friends considered who and what had inspired them. We will be looking at ways of publishing some recent and current accounts of Friends putting their peace testimony into action.
We closed the meeting with an exploration of some aspects of security, partly in response to the Ammerdown Invitation . The Board minuted, in part:
We are all responsible for security. We can’t be secure if our neighbour isn’t secure, and this security starts within ourselves, having control over our lives. We are reminded of the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’; security can be nurtured by community, working collectively with others, including government. Trust, accountability, equality and trying to see the good in everyone are also fundamental to a secure society. Fun opens us out, fear isolates and diminishes. What would the world look like if, instead of focussing on fear, we focus on love? We need to be brave and clear about the kind of world we believe in.
The meeting heard of plans by the Board’s Sustainable Security project group to put on a conference in early 2016 to look at how we use various media in promoting wider discussion around the issues of security and alternatives.
As the Labour party began its conference and failed to debate the important issue of Trident, NFPB members were again able to join with Scottish Friends at Faslane the day after our Perth meeting. In warm sunshine, Friends were struck by the ugliness of the nuclear weapons base and all it represents, in contrast to the beauty of the surrounding landscape.